The Abuja Literary Festival (ALF) connects literary creatives with readers, the wider public and all those involved in the production and consumption of the culture of literacy. It debuted in November 2008 as one of the major projects of the then newly formed Abuja Writers Forum (AWF), as a one-day event preceded by a poetry and short contest for residents of the Federal Capital Territory. Winners were announced on the day of the event.
The following year the contest was expanded to include drama, and other categories of poetry and fiction including published works and entries were no longer restricted to the Federal Capital Territory. Also for the first time in any literary contest in the country, literary criticism was featured.
The event enjoyed the support of a few stakeholders including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company. The Festival was eventually rested, so too the journals Dugwe and Calvacade, due to a barrage of operational challenges. The Abuja Writers Forum(AWF) concentrated on other projects like the monthly Guest Writer Session which has run consistently since June 2008, the weekly Critique Sessions and the Creative Writing Workshop Series. Dugwe was reactivated as an online publication in late December 2017 and can be accessed at www.dugwe.com.
The Festival’s re-launch from 28-30 June 2018, coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Abuja Writers Forum. It would feature discussion panels, a poetry corner, drama sessions, manuscript pitches, readings, music, visual art exhibitions, creative writing workshop and a session that teaches social media strategies to help writers publicise their works.
The Festival workshop this year is on drama, taking into to cognisance the dearth of quality play scripts and regular theatre performances within Abuja and its environs. Participants would be drawn from the neighbouring tertiary institutions and aspiring playwrights within the wider public. The workshop would explore to tell a story onstage; the difference between writing for performance and writing for a reader; exploring traditional and new ways to communicate with an audience. There would be a series of experiential exercises designed to invigorate understanding of how theatre works.
Participants will develop their own work during a five-day period coinciding with the Festival so that they can see and hear it read, and also get valuable feedback from the facilitators. The workshop will look at the basic building blocks of drama – character, action and dialogue – and note what works and what doesn’t and, most importantly, why.
The expected impact is that the aspiring playwrights would have gained essential skills to enhance their practice by producing new plays, thereby giving a boost to drama performances within the Federal Capital Territory and beyond.
Meet Our Team
Edith C. Yassin
EDITH C. YASSIN is a broadcast journalist with 22 years, worth of experience in the industry. She cut her teeth in the Ibadan broadcast bedrock as an announcer/presenter on Galaxy Television. She later moved to Nigerian Television Authority(NTA), Abuja. She is the Managing Director of M. Y. Studio a Television production outfit that opened for business in Abuja in 2010. Edith is a mother of two grown-up children. Producer, Cook Show host, gardener, poet, a lover of great music and dance. She is also an active citizen who is passionate about the rights of citizens and good governance. A firm believer in #ProjectNigeria and dreams that Nigeria will work in her lifetime.
OLUMIDE OLANIYAN is an author, satirist and public speaker.
He debuts with his collection of poems – Lucidity of Absurdity, in March 2017. He has published short stories in newspapers, magazines and the 1993 edition of Twenty Nigerian Writers’ Portraits. He won the maiden edition of Communicators League Creative Writing Contest 2017 with his poem entitled “Behind Closed Doors”. His poem – “One Sojourn of the Moon” also received an honorary mention in the Mandela Day Poetry Competition.
AMINA ABOJE expresses herself in both poetry and prose. A member of the Abuja Writers’ Forum, her poems and short stories have severally topped the AWF Writing challenge series. In 2016, she won the Mandela Day Poetry Prize. She’s also the third place winner (in the poetry category) of the maiden edition of the Communicators League writing contest. She is the author of Promises on Sand,a collection of poems. Aboje who is an independent editor, also finds pleasure in teaching poetry.
George Odochi Ndukwe
GEORGE ODOCHI NDUKWU is a Producer, Scriptwriter, Content developer, Artiste and also an ‘acting’ Creative Writer.He has been active in the area of journalism; Independent Producer-Technology Africa magazine TV programme on NTA, Special projects consultant-TELL Magazine, Managing Editor-Peoples Democrat magazine, with feature articles in several national newspapers.He is involved with Nollywood- screenplays, productions, cast & crew, and as well activates Events/Live performances- being a British council certified cultural events programmer. Mr. Ndukwu crafts and produces Social & Behavior Change/ Positive Role Modeling education-entertainment radio serial dramas. He is a social media optimizer and Digital Skills trainer/ consultant.Giorgioas he is fondly called is ‘having an affair’ with the Abuja Writers Forum [AWF] and is currently slogging away spare nighttime hours (not that he is complaining) on a creative non-fiction book and a collection of short stories.
Zubairu Jide Attah
ZUBAIRU JIDE ATTAH is an actor who has featured in soaps on DSTV and Ebony Life TV ’s, Sons of the Caliphate, Domino as well as feature and Nollywood movies like 93 Days, My Private Part, The Visitors several others. He is also an author, teacher, strategic communications expert, social marketing expert, NGO builder and systems strengthener. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of several social service organisations rendering voluntary service to causes and communities. He is an ardent golfer and passionate reader.
MIKE EKUNNO is published in over two-dozen literary journals including Bridge Eight, Drunk Monkeys, Ebedi Review, Dugwe, The First Line, Nigeria Monthly, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Hamilton Stone Review, Gambling the Aisle, Thrice Fiction Magazine, The African Roar Anthology, bioStories, The Transnational, Bullet Pen and Storymoja, the last two coming with wins in continental contests. His children’s story book, Cowboy Lamido, is set to be published before mid-year. Mike works as freelance book editor, literary critic and ghost biographer. He volunteers with the Champions Royal Assembly Bible College where he teaches Rhetorics.
Emman Usman Shehu
EMMAN USMAN SHEHU has published three poetry collections Questions For Big Brother, Open Sesame and Icarus Rising.
IKE EZUGWU studied Dramatic Arts and Mass Communications at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is the CEO of the Lagos-based Vuvuzela Communications Limited.
John Bosco Ezenwa
JOHN BOSCO EZENWA is a writer, linguist, business developer and data analyst, with an intense interest for fiction writing with several unpublished manuscripts. He is a co-founder of Smarter Language Academy in Abuja.
ABIATHAR ZADOK born first of April 1971 in Numan, Adamawa State of Nigeria, is the Founder and Creative Director of African Theatre Development Foundation. He is a playwright, poet and short-story writer. His plays are constantly performed in all institutions of learning from primary schools to universities. His style of captivating dialogue and tense engagement is said to be second to none.
ABIGAIL ABENUlives in Abuja. She is a member of Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF), where she moderates the weekly Critique Session. Several of her play scripts have been broadcast on Radio Nigeria, these include: “The Borderline”, “The Choice”, “Not Too Late”, The Expo” and “Treasures of our Land”. Her stories and poems have received favourable reviews.
Ladi M. Opuluwa
LADI M. OPALUWA is a creative writer with a rich background in journalism, her fiction has appeared most recently in Electric Literature and Litro Magazine and has a story forthcoming in Overland Journal. She was shortlisted for the Morland Writing Scholarship (fiction) in 2015 and is a 2017 MacDowell Fellow. She is based in Abuja where she is currently working on her debut novel.
RAKIYA ABUBAKAR is passionate about writing especially poetry and is a staunch member of the Abuja Writers Forum.
WASILA MOHAMMED studied Theatre Arts at the University of Jos and currently lives in Abuja, where she is an activist and keen entrepreneur.
Alex Bitrus Byanyiko
ALEX BITRUS BYANYIKO until recently worked with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Abuja, but the pull of being an independent filmmaker was too strong to resist. He is currently working on a series alongside other projects.